40,000 LEDs light up the glass facade of Austrian museum

Dec. 29, 2008
Date Announced: 29 Dec 2008 On January 2, state-of-the-art lighting technology will illuminate the 5,100 sq-m glass façade of the Ars Electronica Center in Linz, Austria, to celebrate the opening of the exhibition, New Views of Humankind. The special-effects lighting featuring 40,000 LEDs will use significantly less electricity and have a longer useful life than the background lighting with fluorescent bulbs that had originally been planned.This LED façade lighting installation is the largest of its kind in Europe. The energy required to power it in normal nightly operation is 3-5 kilowatts. In contrast to fluorescent bulbs, the LEDs operate at full output even at very low temperatures. The reduced energy costs as well as lower expenses for repairs and maintenance yield an estimated annual savings of €38,000.The LED strips built into one side of 1,100 of the glass façade’s panels are 20-120 cm long. A strip’s cross-section is 30 x 45 mm; each is studded with 20-48 high-output LEDs. The 40,000 diodes are split equally between red, green, blue and white. Soldered onto printed circuit boards, the individual LEDs are a 2.4 x 4.5 mm at their base and 2 mm high. Mounted on each diode is a special 22 x 22-mm lens that casts the light onto the glass panels. Each of the 1,100 LED strips can be individually controlled by an electronic unit that makes it possible to fine-tune brightness and the color mix.Saved to memory on the lighting system’s master computer is a repertoire of patterns that can be applied to the Museum of the Future’s façade at night. Special artistic effects and new patterns can be created from scratch on the computer. A unique feature of the technology being utilized in Linz is the possibility of producing a pure white. With it, the AEC can be transformed at the push of a button into a “white crystal.”This innovative façade illumination was planned and installed by Multivision, a Marchtrenk-based firm founded in 2002. Multivision also designed the façade lighting for Energie Ag’s power Tower.The new exhibitsNew Views of Humankind is dedicated to the startling advances being made in the life sciences with four laboratories that engender an active approach to issues by staging exhibitions, conducting research activities and running a program imparting knowledge and skills.The Ars Electronica Center opened in 1996 as a prototype of a “Museum of the Future.” Its mission is to utilize interactive forms of mediation to facilitate the general public’s encounter with virtual reality, digital networks and modern media. A focus on issues at the interface of media art, new technologies and social developments characterize the Center’s innovative exhibitions. Beyond this, the Ars Electronica Center is the permanent base and thus the organizational foundation of Ars Electronica’s regional and international activities.

Christopher Ruckerbauer

E-mail:[email protected]

Web Site:www.aec.at